Tom Barrack, the founder and former CEO of Colony Capital and longtime advisor to Donald Trump, was released on Friday on a whopping $250 million bond, three days after being arrested on charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent and lied about it to investigators.
Barrack, 74, was freed from a county jail facility in San Bernardino, according to jail records. He was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles on charges he that he illegally sought to influence policy for the United Arab Emirates with disclosing himself as a registered foreign agent.
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“I want to thank the fine men and women of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office, the United States Marshals Service and the Central District of California Court, Pretrial, and Probation teams,” Barrack said in a statement on Friday evening. “They have difficult jobs and carry them out with great professionalism. I also want to recognize the grace and humanity of the gentlemen with whom I have shared a community over these last three days. I am innocent and will prove that in court.”
Barrack has been a close friend of President Trump’s for decades, and chaired his inaugural committee in 2017. He is accused of using his proximity to the White House to lobby on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, without disclosing his role as required to the Justice Department.
Barrack is due be arraigned by a federal judge in Brooklyn on Monday.
A second defendant, Matthew Grimes, was also granted release on a $5 million bond. The third defendant, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, remains at large.
Barrack, who lives in Santa Monica, was ordered to wear a GPS monitor, and his travel has been restricted to Southern California and New York, according to City News Service. Barrack is a major real estate investor with deep ties to the Middle East. In 2010, he led the acquisition of Miramax from Disney, in partnership with the Qatari state investment authority. He later sold the company to beIN Media, a Qatari broadcaster.
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace in 2017, Barrack explored bailing out the foundering Weinstein Co., before backing away. He stepped down as CEO of Colony Capital, a real estate agency and investment firm, last year and in March he left his post as executive chairman.
The unusually large $250 million bail fee was set in part because Barrack is considered a flight risk. His ability to post a sum that quickly is already spurring commentary and debate about inequities in criminal justice for those with wealth and power.
Barrack served as chair of Trump’s 2017 inauguration committee. He served the former President well by raising more than $100 million for inauguration events in January of that year despite Hollywood’s chilliness to the former “Apprentice” host and the early squeamishness from corporate America to Trump’s extremist agenda.
Barrack’s arrest brings the number of Trump administration members and advisers who have faced federal charges to eight. The list includes two of Trump’s 2016 campaign chiefs, Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, and Trump’s longtime friend and political advisor Roger Stone.
(Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report)
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